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Speaker Presentations and Keynotes
from the 2012 CS & IT Symposium

Monday Workshops:
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Exploring Computer Science--Teaching with Inquiry
Presented by Gail Chapman & Joanna Goode

Discussions related to broadening participation often focus on the content with little emphasis on the pedagogical strategies that need to accompany content changes if we are to be successful. This workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to delve into inquiry-based, equity focused strategies by engaging in selected activities from the Exploring Computer Science curriculum. Activities will be chosen to reflect the breadth of strategies that can be used, including but not limited to jig sawing activities, pair and small-group collaboration, multiple solutions, and journal reflections. The workshop leaders will explicitly model the inquiry-based design of the activities and facilitate discussions that draw from the rich and varied experiences of the participants. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss and create extensions to these activities that would make them appropriate for CS Principles courses at colleges/universities as well as AP courses taught in high schools.

No slides available.

Hands-on with Bootstrap
Presented by Emmanuel Schanzer

Teach your students to program...mathematically! Bootstrap teaches students to program their own videogames in a unique, algebraic programming language. In Bootstrap, your students will discover a structured approach to solving word problems, and use coordinate planes, graphing, functions and variables, function composition, boolean logic, cartesian inequalities and the pythagorean theorem to build a fully-playable videogame. This workshop will cover cutting-edge research in the field of math and CS education, and model real classroom lessons. Come learn what Bootstrap is all about, discover a new kind of programming, and start building your own videogame!

Jump Right In: Getting Started with Google Apps Script
Presented by Jan Kleinert

This workshop presents an introduction to Google Apps Script, a JavaScript cloud scripting language. Apps Script can be a powerful platform for teaching, as students write code in a widely-used language and can quickly create useful and engaging scripts and web applications. With a built-in cloud IDE and scripts that are saved and executed on Google's servers, there's no development environment to set up and no libraries or software to install, so students and teachers can simply open the script editor in a web browser and jump right in. This workshop will introduce the capabilities of Google Apps Script, followed by a hands-on workshop where teachers will build scripts ranging from simple custom spreadsheet functions up through complex web applications with rich user interfaces. Laptop required.

No slides available.

Transition to Java Using Alice 3
Presented by Donald Slater

This workshop, designed for instructors of CS1/AP, will introduce teaching a course using Alice 3, a 3D animation-authoring tool having built-in integration with Java. The workshop offers hands-on experience programming with Alice3 and Java together. Alice3 uses a program visualization tool, enabling students to "see" objects and work with object-oriented programming. Participants will see how to use Alice3 to build virtual worlds and how to transfer these programs into a Java IDE. Participants will receive a thumb drive containing Alice3 and sample virtual worlds developed as part of NSF-0736552, 0736697, and 0736945 grants.

Monday Workshops:
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Big Data Unit
Presented by Tammy Pirmann

"Data and information facilitate the creation of knowledge." This session will start with an overview of the Big Data Unit and how it can fit into a high school course. Participants will receive all materials used in the unit including two large data sets for use with students. We start with a movie recommendation system imported into Excel and analyzed with basic Excel features such as sort and filter. As the knowledge we want to extract from the data becomes more complex, we pull the data into Access and write queries against it to answer our questions. The second data set is for the movement of people in Portland, OR and will be brought into Access for analysis. We will discuss options for extending this unit in multiple ways. We will also be providing all necessary materials for an independent student project for the Big Data unit.

Koding with Kodu: CS in the 3-8 Classroom
Presented by Peg Fisher & Pat Yongpradit

Kodu lets kids create games on the PC and XBox via a simple visual programming language. Kodu can be used to teach creativity, problem solving, storytelling, as well as programming. Anyone can use Kodu to make a game, young children, as well as adults, with or without design or programming skills. In this workshop, participants will explore the Kodu environment, create simple interactive games and simulations, and discover ready-to-use curriculum resources including video tutorials, lesson plans, and student activities. A special segment will be devoted to exploring Kodu lesson modules for mathematics, social studies, and science. In the math module, students study algebraic and geometric concepts by exploring mathematical problems, examining relationships among data, and interacting with objects within a three-dimensional world. In the social studies and science modules, students create interactive tours of a country and a cell. Kodu is a free Microsoft teaching tool.

SNAP! and the "Beauty and Joy of Computing"
Presented by Dan Garcia

Snap! (Build Your Own Blocks) is a free, graphical, drag-and-drop extension to the Scratch programming language. Scratch, designed for 8-14 year olds, models programs as "scripts" without names, arguments, or return values. Snap! supports older learners (14-20) by adding named procedures (thus recursion), procedures as data (thus higher order functions) structured lists, and sprites as first class objects with inheritance. Participants will learn Snap! through discussion, programming exercises, and exploration. See snap.berkeley.edu for details.

Stop Talking about HTML5 and Learn It!
Presented by Mark Lassoff

Some technologies have the potential to be paradigm-changing. By bringing commonality to multimedia, hosting a 2D and 3D canvas capable of complex visualizations and gaming, and by creating a common experience across platforms, HTML5 IS one of those technologies. HTML5 is, perhaps, one of the most talked about new technologies in years. For many who prioritize up-to-date content in their classes the time for talking is over. The time to learn the next major web (and mobile) standard is now! Bring your laptop, because in this fast-paced workshop, participants will be encouraged to code along-with the instructor. Initially the basics of HTML5 coding will be reviews. In the second section of the workshop HTML5's new features will be demonstrated. In the last part of the session, the instructor will guide participants through creating their own HTML5 application.

No slides available; please contact presenter directly with any questions: mark@learntoprogram.tv

Tuesday Opening Keynote:
8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Policy Wonks and Teacher Advocates
Presented by Baker Franke & Cameron Wilson

While much of the "good fight" for CS education happens on a school-by-school, teacher-by-teacher basis, equally crucial political battles for more and better CS education are fought at a higher level -- in the halls of the US Congress and some state legislatures. But where and how do bottom-up and top-down efforts meet? Many teachers are aware of some of the national and state-level systemic issues that confront CS education, but may not feel empowered to have any influence in the debate. And many policy makers and lobbyists in Washington D.C. fight for teachers and CS education while feeling disconnected from some on-the-ground realities that affect, not just CS education, but K-12 education in general. In this talk, Cameron Wilson, Policy Director for ACM, and Baker Franke, a high school CS teacher and CSTA Leadership cohort member for Illinois, will discuss how national policy objectives can and should be brought home to the local level, and how and why everyday classroom CS teachers should join the fight and be empowered to make a difference.

Tuesday Concurrent Sessions
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Collaborating to Engage Underrepresented Youth in CS
Presented by Mylene Padolina, Karen Peterson, & Vicky Raya

This presentation by the Computer Science Collaboration Project will provide computer science and information technology teachers with resources and strategies that help strengthen the capacity of K-12 formal and informal programs and will introduce exemplary practices enlisting the best research knowledge currently available for engaging underrepresented and minority youth in computer science. Participants will engage in interactive collaboration exercises, receive an overview of resources and lessons learned, and learn about CSCP mini-grant projects currently engaging K-12 youth with disabilities and Hispanic/Latino youth in computer science. Funded by the National Science Foundation's Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) Program, the Computer Science Collaboration Project uses the most successful elements of the National Girls Collaborative Project to connect and build collaborations among the various organizations that are part of the BPC community, specifically focusing on outreach to and collaboration with persons with disabilities, African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and women.

ECS through Inquiry: Teaching as Facilitation and Reflection
Presented by Gail Chapman, Joanna Goode, Kim Merino, & Gilberto Sosa

Discussions related to broadening participation often focus on content with little attention to pedagogical strategies that need to accompany content changes if we are to be successful. In this session, we will examine the critical topic of inquiry-based teaching and student learning in computer science through the lens of Exploring Computer Science, a high school computer science course targeting underrepresented groups of students in Los Angeles. We will provide a brief overview of Exploring Computer Science and then focus on what we are learning about teaching and learning computer science in an inquiry-based, equity-focused classroom. Our panel will reflect on the rewards and challenges of teaching and supporting students. We will also discuss issues of equity as they apply to student learning and engagement. Finally we will dialogue with the audience about the challenges of teaching with an inquiry approach and how best to support students.

No slides available.

End-to-end Introductory Python in the Browser
Presented by David Pritchard & Troy Vasiga

Computer Science Circles (cscircles.cemc.uwaterloo.ca) is a website where anyone can learn to program in Python, using no software other than their web browser. Over 500 users have solved problems on our site. The two core ideas are using auto-grading technology, and interspersing text and exercises in a natural fashion. The website implementation takes advantage of modern tools including WordPress and ajax. Our goal is to reach a very broad audience; we picked Python since it has friendly syntax but is still a real-world language. The content ranges from "Hello, world!" up to recursion and computational efficiency. Additional features integrated into the site include a rich editor, a visualizer, and tools for teacher-student interaction. In the first half, we explain the technologies behind the site and our pedagogical approach. The second half will consist of discussion plus a hands-on component where everyone is invited to use the site.

News Flash-AP Computer Science A
Presented by Renee Ciezki & Jody Paul

The Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science A course is an essential component of a comprehensive computer science program. This session is designed for current APCS A teachers, prospective teachers, and anyone interested in learning more about the course, the exam, or the scoring process. Jody Paul, Chief Reader, and Renee Ciezki, Question Leader/College Board Advisor, will share results from the 2012 AP Computer Science A Exam Administration. They will also announce exciting changes coming soon to the APCS A course.

Project-Based Game Design for Social Causes
Presented by Pat Yongpradit

Game programming can be more useful than just increasing enrollments in computer science courses. Programming games for social causes allows students to create technology that is both innovative and socially relevant. Students can use video games to address social issues such as poverty, maternal health, HIV/AIDS, and other topics that reflect student values. In addition, interdisciplinary teams can mimic the reality of teamwork in professional computer science (CS) careers. And as an added benefit, students can easily create and deploy applications and games to a global marketplace using XNA Game Studio. This presentation will showcase a project-based curriculum approach that is designed to meet rigorous CS learning standards while addressing social causes. Teachers can use the curriculum resources to build excitement in introductory courses, enhance existing CS courses, and extend the learning from AP CS into additional advanced courses.

Tuesday Concurrent Sessions
11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

CS Education Advocacy: Lessons from Hogwarts
Presented by Kim Wilkens

The need for computer science education advocacy means there are big issues that need to be addressed, like equity, job preparedness, and national competitiveness. We need input and buy-in from a wide variety of stakeholders in order to solve these issues, but I believe we are discovering that everyone is not on the same page or even able to translate what the page says when it comes to computer science. How can we communicate across this divide? Is there a common language we can speak? Maybe we need a little magic to break down the barriers. This session will draw on lessons from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to tell the story of CS and help bridge the translation gap that keeps so many students, parents, teachers, administrators, and policy makers from truly understanding the amazing possibilities that CS education provides.

Guided Inquiry Learning for Computer Science
Presented by Clif Kussmaul & Tammy Pirmann

This session introduces participants to process-oriented guided inquiry learning (POGIL) in computer science. POGIL has been developed, and validated over the last 15 years, primarily in chemistry education. In POGIL, teams of learners (typically 3-5) work on scripted inquiry activities designed to help them construct their own knowledge, often by modeling the original processes of discovery and research. Teams follow processes with specific roles, steps, and reports that encourage individual responsibility and meta-cognition. Studies generally find that POGIL significantly improves student performance. We will begin the session with introductions and brief review of some relevant background. Second, teams of attendees will work through a sample CSPOGIL activity to understand how it works. We will conclude with a review of POGIL's key concepts, history, and supporting research; pointers to additional information; and general discussion.

Oracle Academy Java Fundamentals and Programming
Presented by Caron Newman

Come learn about the Oracle Academy's new Java curriculum for secondary schools-Java Fundamentals and Java Programming. Conceived to help educators awaken and deepen students' interest in Java, computer science, and engineering, the curriculum is free and complete with lecture materials, labs, assessments, and projects. The Java Fundamentals course teaches object oriented programming to students with little or no programming experience. It is fun, engaging, easy to use, and aligns to the Oracle Certified Associate Java Programmer certification and the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science A exam in the U.S.

Piloting CS Principles: A First Hand Experience by K-12 Teachers
Presented by Rebecca Dovi, Ann Drobnis, Baker Franke, Rich Kick, & Deepa Muralidhar

This session will describe what is going on at the national level with computer science education and the movement underway to revolutionize our high schools with the introduction of a new (proposed) Advanced Placement computer science course. You will then hear from four teachers currently piloting the new course. They will describe their experiences, thoughts, and plans for the future with regard to the new course. They will also share their resources and answer any and all questions about what you may experience in the coming years with the new course.

Rocking Robotics and Creative Computing
Presented by Eric Walters

A key question for educators is: how do we develop and implement a creative, innovative, and challenging curriculum in computer programming and robotics for females. In this workshop, participants will discuss the Marymount School Computer Programming Initiative, including a review of pedagogically sound, class-level appropriate programming languages. Participants will also discuss mechanisms for connection programming and robotics to art and design, to interdisciplinary topics, and to existing curriculum. Strategies for program design, assessment, and faculty professional development will also be included. Participants will receive a copy of our K-12 Computer Programming and Robotics Curriculum as well as additional articles for review and discussion.

Tuesday Concurrent Sessions
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Broadening Participation: ECS and CS Principles
Presented by Owen Astrachan, Gail Chapman, & Brook Osborne

Exploring Computer Science (ECS) and CS Principles (CSP) are national initiatives aligned to different degrees with Level III of the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards. Both programs aim to broaden participation in computer science by moving away from traditional pedagogy and content. The curricular frameworks developed for ECS and CSP share a great deal of content, designed with similar goals, but often with different learning objectives. ECS integrates computer science concepts, inquiry-based teaching and learning, and an equitable classroom culture to broaden participation in computing. CSP was envisioned as a national initiative with a mandate to broaden participation in high schools and colleges via an Advanced Placement Exam, but without a strict pedagogy. This session is modeled as a debate and a town-hall meeting in which the participants (including the audience) discuss how the programs are broadening participation.

Building Bridges and Breaking down Barriers
Presented by Margot Phillipps & Troy Vasiga

There are a number of barriers to fully involving secondary school girls in computer science and programming. These include perceptions that CS is a boys' domain and that it has little social relevance. Students also do not understand the value of CS courses and lack knowledge of career opportunities. The Programming Challenge 4 Girls (PC4G) provides a short strong impact to overcome these barriers. It is a one-day event that introduces girls to programming through a team-based challenge in Alice while their teachers receive their own professional development. And everyone shares in a great prize winning experience. PC4G events are hosted by local institutions that benefit by showcasing their programs to girls at a formative age and establishing relationships with local high school teachers which may lead to further opportunities for collaboration. Any institution interested in engaging more girls in computing, improving teacher knowledge, and building stronger relationships with schools can replicate PC4G.

Exploring Computational Thinking in Math and Science Classrooms
Presented by Phil Wagner

Computational thinking abstracts the principles of computer science and engineering and applies these principles to all domains. Learn and share ways in which we can use computational thinking to bring core curriculum into the computer science classroom as well as bring computer science into the core classroom.

No slides available.

HTML5 101: The Future is Here
Presented by Peg Fisher

HTML5 will be the new standard for HTML, XHTML, and the HTML DOM. The previous version of HTML originated in 1999 and needless to say the web is a very different place than it was then. HTML5 improves interoperability by making precise rules on how to handle HTML elements. Some of the new features in HTML5 are functions for embedding audio, video, graphics, clientside data storage, and interactive documents. HTML5 also contains new elements like 'nav', 'header', 'footer', and 'figure'. Learn about the latest in web design and explore how you can update your web design lessons with curriculum resources and student projects.

Introducing Computer Programming in Middle School
Presented by Patty Hicks

Computer programming at the middle school can be accessible to all students without killing your budget! Come learn how Indian Prairie School District met their requirements for critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity by adding computer programming enrichment activities to their middle school classes. This session will cover district goals, how each grade level addresses these needs, tips and tools for engagement, and lessons learned.

Tuesday Concurrent Sessions
2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Fundraising for both Extracurricular and Curricular Projects
Presented by Kathleen Weaver

Need funding? In this session you can learn proven ways to get donations and grants for your classroom and extracurricular projects. My successes included stocking my games programming lab and funding two robotics teams from donations. If you need funding help (and who doesn't?), come learn some tips, tricks, and tools to help you cover your classroom needs.

No slides available.

Gaming and Mathematics: A Cross Curricular Event
Presented by Beth Frierson, Sharon Jones, & Renada Poteat

Correlating math and computer science for high school students can be a bit of a challenge; unless, you..."Get Your Game On." This presentation demonstrates how computer science teachers, along with math teachers, were able to collaborate with each other and show the students how closely related computer science and mathematics really are. The teachers used Algebraic expressions as a foundation for students to build computer games with BYOB/Scratch for a fun and exciting three-day afterschool workshop. The results were much more than either the teachers or the students expected.

How to Introduce FRQ's Early in AP Computer Science
Presented by Ria Galanos

AP Computer Science is a cumulative subject, where topics build on previous knowledge. The Free Response Questions (FRQs) on the APCS A test require students to know both common control structures and more advanced topics (collections, GridWorld). Advanced topics are usually taught later; therefore, exposure to FRQs occurs much later. This session will show teachers how to introduce FRQs within the first month of APCS by focusing on the problem solving within the question. When teachers use FRQs, students better understand how to analyze a problem in order to develop a solution for it. Students also develop the tools necessary to completely solve (and code) FRQs. Participants will be shown two ways to approach problem solving. The first involves a template which guides students through analyzing the problem while the second provides a more open-ended solution. The session will end with the participants being given a set of additional FRQs that are suitable for problem analysis without knowing Java.

Download presentation as PDF

Mobile Programming Throwdown
Presented by Dave Reed (Moderator), Ricky Roy, Alfred Thompson, & David Wolber

Courses in mobile platform development are becoming increasingly popular in high schools and colleges. Students appreciate the relevance of mobile apps, while instructors appreciate teaching programming concepts to motivated students. For the instructor considering adding mobile development, however, the choices of platform and development tools can be daunting. Workshops and tutorials are available to provide some guidance, but they usually focus on only one platform and rely on prebuilt packages of code that hide the development process. In contrast, this session is designed to give a high-level overview and demonstration of the three major mobile platforms: Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Experienced programmers will describe the features of each platform and then develop a common app from scratch using available programming tools. In this way, the audience will be able to follow the actual development process and compare the three platforms under the same conditions.

Nifty Assignments
Presented by Stuart Reges

For over ten years the annual conference sponsored by the Special Interest Group for Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) has included a "nifty assignments" panel. In this session, the presenter will describe the nifty archive that has grown out of that series of panels and the experiences he has had with these assignments. The presenter has been invited to include four of his own assignments to the archive over the years and also uses many others. Four nifty assignments will be presented in detail and three will be demonstrated. Password-protected support materials will be made available for all six assignments. The presenter will describe what he thinks makes an assignment nifty so that the experience will provide good ideas even if a teacher doesn't decide to use these particular assignments. These assignments are most appropriate for a programming class that uses either Python or Java.

Tuesday Closing Keynote:
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Industrial Software & Magic
Presented by Alex Suter

In this session I'll go over some of the ways I learned about working with computers, at home and at school, and how they come in handy in my day-to-day work at Industrial Light and Magic working directly with users and in a very large and diverse code base. I'll talk about some of the practical matters of being part of a large team of developers, how our users interact with us and the software, and show some behind the scenes footage of the amazing visuals created with our software from recently released movies. I'll also show some amusing examples of how those amazing visuals can go so very wrong when the software isn't just right.

No slides available.


CSTA works at many levels to support computing education.

Elementary and Middle school
(problem solving &
computational thinking)

High school
(computing &
computer science)

(enrollment &

(engagement &